animals to look for while camping, picture of a tarantula on the left and a bobcat on the right, list of animals to look for while camping in the wild

Animals To Look For While Camping

When we set off for a remote, forest-y location to spend the next few days relaxing with the RV or unwinding in a tent, there will be animals to look for while camping. As some of us think of things like the trees that tower over us or the leaves of three we need let be when we hear the word ‘nature’, we can’t forget that some of the most incredibly fascinating and striking sights are the woodland creatures themselves.

Depending on what part of the country you’re camping in, you can potentially see everything from moose to bears. Let’s explore some of the animals to look for while camping in different areas of the country.

New England And Appalachian Mountain States

  • Moose – Exclusive to Northern New England states
  • Bobcats – Nocturnal
  • Black bears
  • Coyotes – Nocturnal
  • Foxes – Typically nocturnal, but known to roam around in daylight
  • Skunks – Nocturnal
  • Raccoons – Nocturnal
  • Hares – Nocturnal
  • Mice – Typically nocturnal
  • Chipmunks
  • Beavers
  • Bats – Nocturnal
  • Alligators – In all coastal states from North Carolina to Texas
  • Various snakes and turtles

Southeastern And Gulf States

  • Foxes – Typically nocturnal, but known to roam around in daylight
  • Ring-tailed cats – Nocturnal
  • Opossums – Nocturnal
  • White-tailed deer – Typically nocturnal, occasionally appears during the day
  • Jackrabbits – Typically nocturnal, but seen in the morning and at dusk
  • Black bears
  • Porcupines – Found all over the Southern states except Florida
  • Beavers – Found all over the Southern states except Florida
  • Alligators
  • Various snakes and turtles

Midwestern Plains States

  • Bison – Mostly on ranches
  • Black bears
  • Coyotes – Nocturnal
  • Raccoons – Nocturnal
  • Skunks – Nocturnal
  • Squirrels
  • Groundhogs
  • Prairie Dogs
  • Badgers
  • Gophers
  • Mink
  • Wild Turkeys
  • Bald Eagles
  • Woodpeckers
  • Rattlesnakes
  • Oklahoma Salamanders
  • 9 Banded Armadillo – Found mostly throughout Missouri and Oklahoma

Northwestern States

  • Grizzly, brown and black bears
  • Opossums – Nocturnal
  • Cougars – Nocturnal
  • Coyotes – Nocturnal
  • Badgers
  • Beavers
  • Hawks
  • Bald Eagles

Southwestern States

  • Jaguars – Nocturnal
  • Ocelots – Nocturnal
  • Foxes – Typically nocturnal, but known to roam around in daylight
  • Wild horses
  • Gila Monsters
  • Mohave rattlesnakes
  • Tarantulas
  • Scorpions

It should go without saying that we need to exercise caution when near wild animals. Keep your distance and respect their space. Remember, you’re on their turf. And although a handful of the above-mentioned animals are nocturnal, that doesn’t mean you’ll never see them. Sometimes they get curious about us, or they pick up on a scent that smells like food, and they’ll sneak up on us after dark. Never leave food out in the open for wild animals to find, and never feed any of the animals you encounter.

When hiking and checking out wildlife, it’s smart to have a walking stick and pepper spray for protection against animal attacks. It’s also a good idea to have them handy at your campsite in the unlikely event that you’ll be forced to fend off a predatory animal.

This isn’t quite a complete list of all the animals to look for while camping, so feel free to add your own and see how many you can identify. Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, as you meander through the wilderness, be certain that you take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Know an animal to look for while camping? Leave it in the comments below.